Cypriot leaders agree to resume peace talks

Cypriot leaders agree to resume peace talks

Negotiations are expected to resume on June 8

By Murat Demirci

LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart have agreed Thursday to resume previously interrupted peace talks on June 8.

Both leaders met in the UN-administered buffer zone in Nicosia for International Children’s Day, generally celebrated on June 1.

"The solution for the Cyprus issue will be [found] at the resumption of negotiations," said Akinci after a meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.

The announcement came after the UN-brokered talks had been suspended when Anastasiades, canceled a meeting with Akinci and cut short a visit to Turkey over a perceived protocol breach at a UN summit in Istanbul, which took place in May.

Anastasiades, who was in Turkey for the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23, also refused to attend an official dinner hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after learning that Akinci was also invited.

Akinci had said he had found the Greek Cypriot leader's reaction to his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon while he was in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit, "unreasonable".

"Hope he would review his position. Suspending peace negotiations cannot be accepted at all," he had said.

On Thursday, Akinci said, the two leaders hoped to end the negotiation process successfully at the end of the year.

"Cyprus is our common country. We should offer you an opportunity to be creative under conditions of peace," said Anastasiades to the children who attended the event.

Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015.

Previous negotiations had stalled in October 2014 due to a dispute over underwater gas exploration.

The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.

*Anadolu Agency correspondent Emin Avundukluoglu contributed to this report from Ankara.

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